I also felt like God was drawing me to himself from a very young age.
Despite growing up in a completely secular home, I found a copy of the New Testament when I was about 13 years old. I was longing for something more out of life--some purpose--so I decided to start kneeling next to my bed and reading the Lord's Prayer from the front cover and reading a chapter of the New Testament every morning and evening.
Around this time, I discovered that I was happier and could focus better when I moved my body, so I developed a body-weight exercise routine that I could do in my room before my prayer times. It always seemed very natural for me to integrate my physical, mental, and spiritual health and I stuck to this routine for years.
When I was 16, I left an abusive and alcoholic home to move in with my amazing big sister, who encouraged me to apply to the service academies and enter the military. I'd always admired my sister for her military service. The Army's old motto, "Be all you can be in the Army" was so inspiring to me as a kid and I saw the military as my ladder out of poverty and the way to a better life. So, with Elle Wood's words ringing in my ears ("What, like it's hard?") I applied to West Point and was accepted.
I went on to graduate first in my branch, to serve two year-long combat deployments in Iraq, to win Officer-of the-Year accolades, and to jump out of perfectly good airplanes--despite a lifelong fear of heights.
It was as a young Army Officer in Iraq that I first became really intentional about using food, exercise, and sleep to enhance my performance. It made me a better soldier and leader while also giving me the resiliency I needed to serve in high-pressure situations with no days off.
I would need that experience when I got out of the Army and became a mother...and faced a different kind of enemy: depression.
About a year after the birth of my third child, I was in an extremely dark place. I felt hopeless, without purpose, and like my vocation as a wife and mother was somehow a waste of my life and potential. Despite all I knew about healthy habits, I just couldn't care enough to try anymore. So I drank heavily, ate poorly, stopped exercising and stayed up late binging TV. I was angry all the time--at my husband, my kids, and especially at God, who I felt had duped me into a life I felt trapped in.
But my vocation wasn't the problem (nor were my husband or kids). The problem was depression. And once I knew that and had a name for my enemy, it was time to attack. So I approached improving my mental health like every other challenge I've ever faced: I came up with a plan and a strategy and used every scrap of strength I had to win back my life.
And it worked. I was happier, healthier, 30 lbs lighter, and had a much better relationship with my husband and kids.
Most importantly though, I was on speaking terms with God again...And I was open to listening to him and entrusting my vocation to him. That's when I discovered that God had a unique mission for me--a specific work that he was asking me to do.
In fact, he has something in mind for each and every one of us--a special work that he has tailor-made us specifically to carry out. And when we do what we were created to do, we become the saints we were created to become.
When I looked back over my own experiences and came to God with an open heart--willing to do whatever it was he was asking of me--that's when the vision for A Thriving Catholic came to me.
My mission is to help other high-achieving Catholic women excel at their own missions by optimizing every aspect of their health so they aren't hindered in their work by depression, fatigue, overwhelm, or preventable illnesses. I know that God has something important for you to do. And I know that your health habits can either keep you stuck in mediocrity...or help you do the work you were made for at the highest possible level.
I'd love to help you reach your own peak performance in every aspect of your life. If you're ready to get started, click below to find out how to work with me.